It’s been one of the industry’s worst-kept secrets but Ford has finally confirmed a plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger will join the local line-up in 2025.
Offering the promise of cheaper fuel bills, gutsier performance and the ability to power tools and your campsite without the need for a portable generator, the Ranger PHEV is an intriguing proposition.
But how does it stack up against a diesel-powered Ranger, which is Australia’s most popular 4x4 dual-cab? And should you consider ordering the Ranger PHEV when production draws closer towards the end of next year?
To help you decide if a plug-in hybrid should power your next ute, we've compared the two.
A caveat is that Ford has yet to confirm many of the Ranger PHEV’s key details (price, fuel use and battery capacity are still unknown) but we know enough to make some ballpark judgement calls.
Read on for everything you need to know about how the 2025 Ranger PHEV stacks up with a current Ranger Wildtrak.
Or read our reveal story to learn more about the Ranger PHEV.
While we don’t know exactly how much the Ranger PHEV will cost, we do know it will be more than a Ranger Wildtrak powered solely by diesel.
Just how much more depends on a host of factors like battery size, the complexity of the Ranger’s hybrid system and where the Ranger PHEV is manufactured but it’s not uncommon for a plug-in hybrid model to cost between $10,000-$20,000 more than a petrol-powered equivalent.
A Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, for example, is $16,500 pricier than the equivalent Outlander fitted with a petrol-only powertrain. You’ll also pay $10,500 more for a Mazda CX-60 PHEV compared with a CX-60 that uses a 3.3-litre turbo-diesel and $12,500 more than one with a petrol engine.
Using those figures as a ballpark, it’s fair to assume the Ranger Wildtrak PHEV will be priced between $82,000 and $90,000 before on-road costs when it arrives early in 2025.
A current Wildtrak V6 diesel will set you back $72,800 before on-road costs.
One factor that could have a big impact on the price of the Ranger PHEV, and its premium over a regular Wildtrak, is where it’s manufactured.
Ford currently sources its Aussie Rangers from Thailand, which has a free trade agreement with Australia.
But that factory doesn’t produce versions of the Ranger with petrol engines, meaning PHEV variants might need to be built at Ford’s factory in South Africa.
That would add a five per cent import tax to the price of the Ranger PHEV. Wheels understands Ford is currently in negotiations to reduce or remove that tax.
Engines, performance and economy
The Ranger PHEV might be more expensive than a diesel model but it’ll also be considerably more powerful. Ford is yet to release homologated power and torque figures but it has confirmed the Ranger PHEV will “produce the highest levels of torque of any Ranger model”.
That means you can expect the PHEV to surpass the 600Nm offered by the 3.0-litre Wildtrak diesel which is the current torque benchmark in the Ranger line-up.
Ford says the Ranger PHEV combines a 2.3L Ecoboost four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with a “relatively large battery pack” and a single electric motor. The battery pack is mounted beneath the tray, while the e-motor is likely to be located ahead of or behind the transmission.
In the Volkswagen Amarok, which was co-developed with the Ranger, the 2.3-litre petrol produces a healthy 222kW/452Nm before an e-motor is added.
That power figure is already a fair chunk more than the 3.0-litre turbo diesel fitted to a ‘regular’ Ranger Wilkdtrak which produces 184kW/600Nm.
Adding the EV side of the PHEV’s powertrain into the mix, then, suggests the Ranger PHEV should feel a fair bit quicker and more muscular, especially low in the rev range due to the e-motor’s instant response.
It should be more efficient, too. Officially the Wildtrak diesel drinks 8.4L/100km on the combined cycle but you can expect the PHEV’s rating to be around half that. Possibly even less.
And providing you plug it in regularly, there’s also the ability to cut out fuel bills altogether.
Ford says the Ranger PHEV will offer “in excess of 45km of electric range” and that its data shows more than half of current Ranger owners drive less than 40km per day.
Ford’s figures also show that 83 per cent drive three or more short trips in a day, suggesting they could top up the battery in between.
“For these use cases, they could spend a considerable amount of their time using the vehicle as an EV,” said Ford’s global truck chief strategist, Matt Reilly.
The flipside to not plugging the Ranger PHEV in regularly, however, is that it’s likely to be thirstier than a diesel Wildtrak. The official combined rating of the 2.3-litre turbo in the Amarok is 9.9L/100km and that’s without the additional weight of a battery pack and e-motor.
Towing and payload
There’s nothing to split a regular Wildtrak and the PHEV when it comes to their maximum tow ratings, with both carrying an official braked towing capacity of 3500kg.
It is the same story when it comes to payload, with Ford going to great lengths to ensure the Ranger PHEV is just as capable of carrying loads as the regular ute.
“There’s no lessening in the payload or the towing capability versus what we have on today’s line-up,” confirmed Rob Sharples, chief engineer for the Ranger PHEV.
Ford’s Aussie-led engineering team have made tweaks to the steering, engine mapping and suspension
The Ranger PHEV is a much heavier vehicle than a regular Wildtrak (the battery pack and e-motor could add as much as 250-400kg to the kerb weight), so to ensure there’s no compromise in payload capacity, Ford has fitted the PHEV with heavier-duty suspension.
Additional strengthening has been applied to the PHEV’s ladder frame and Ford’s Aussie-led engineering team have made tweaks to the steering, engine mapping and suspension to ensure it retains the Ranger’s class-leading driving dynamics and ride comfort.
One minor caveat to the PHEV’s towing ability is that it won’t be able to tow 3500kg in every drive mode. In EV mode, for example, which relies solely on the e-motor, the towing capacity is reduced.
A big part of a dual-cab’s appeal is its ability to take you and your family away from the beaten track and Ford is confident the Ranger PHEV is just as capable as a regular Wildtrak when the terrain gets tricky.
“It has Ranger’s renowned capability off-road with its selectable drive modes, four-wheel drive and water wading capability,” said chief engineer Rob Sharples. The instant response of the PHEV’s e-motor and immediate low-down torque could also be a benefit in some off-road situations.
Where a regular diesel Wildtrak has a clear advantage, though, is when it comes to weight. Just like a racing car, the less weight you have in your vehicle when you’re off-roading, the better.
Lack of weight is a key reason why the Suzuki Jimny is so capable, for example. More weight means you have to work harder to overcome obstacles and fight gravity as you climb steep hills.
Ford hasn’t confirmed how much the Ranger PHEV weighs but a typical rule of thumb is that a battery pack and e-motor can add between 250-400kg.
There is one feather in the PHEV’s cap that the regular diesel Wildtrak can’t match, however, and that’s its ability to act as a portable generator.
Once you’re at your camping spot, you can plug your fridge, TV, stereo, stove or lights into one of the PHEV’s three 240-volt, 10-amp sockets. At the work site, it can power your tools.
Ford calls this feature ‘Pro Power onboard’ and it removes the need to lug about a regular generator, which in turn frees up space in the tray.